November 12th is Neil Young’s 70th birthday and in honor of his 70 trips around the sun, here are 10 cool – and slightly weird – facts about our favorite grizzled, long sideburned, guitar-slinging rock god!
1. Neil Was In A Band With Rick James
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Yep, you read right: Neil and Rick James of “Superfreak” fame were once in a band together called The Mynah Birds, the first mostly white band signed to Motown Records.
2. Neil Used To Drive A Hearse…Named “Mortimer”
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We can’t make this up. Neil used to drive a 1948 Pontiac hearse that he lovingly referred to as, “Mortimer” to drive his early band The Squires from gig to gig.
3. He Also Really, Really, Loves Paddleboarding
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If Neil is 70 and can go paddleboarding, surely you can put the remote down and go to spin class.
4. He’s Been Friends With Joni Mitchell For Decades!
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Both born in Canada, Joni and Neil have enjoyed a solid friendship – occasionally writing and recording together – for well over 50 years. Aww!
5. Neil Was Violently Against Being Filmed At Woodstock 1969
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No, really: no live footage of Neil’s appearance at Woodstock – either solo or with CSNY – exists. Rumor has it he threatened the lives of the filmmakers if they dared to catch him on camera at any point.
6. At Age 5, Neil Contracted Polio.
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He recovered, but not without a few lingering effects. He’s also got epilepsy.
7. He’s Got A Real Life Heart Of Gold!
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Neil’s sons Zeke and Ben were born with cerebral palsy. When he’s not on the road, Neil devotes his time to The Bridge School, which serves special-needs children. He even holds a benefit concert for the school every year.
8. He’s A Model Train Geek And Engineer
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Neil’s so fascinated by model trains that he even owns a model train company, called the Lionel Train Company. He even holds patents on model railroad controls he uses with his son, Ben.
9. Bernard Shakey – Err, Neil Young, Dabbles In Filmmaking
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When Neil’s not making music, playing with model trains, or devoting time to charities, he directs films under the name Bernard Shakey.
10. Neil Is In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame – TWICE
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Where most of us have dreamt of getting into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame once, Neil’s done it twice! Once as a solo artist and once for his contributions to Buffalo Springfield. You go, Neil!